As the memories of a long, hot Summer fade, it’s time to prepare for the cold of Winter looming on the horizon. Winter cycling can cause extra wear to your bike. We’ve put together a few simple checks to keep your bike in tip top condition.
The more often you clean your bike, the easier and quicker the job will be. Every week or two, clean the chain, gears, cranks and wheel rims to remove built-up grease and grime. Your muddy gear gets a thorough wash in the laundry, so make sure your bike does too.
Salt, slush, and ice can destroy your chain, wreck your shifting, and corrode your frame if you don't wash them off after a winter spin. Wipe down after every ride, preferably with warm water. Once a week spend some extra time making sure your chain gets thoroughly degreased and re-lubricated.
Roads are gritted, there’s more rain, and together they get churned up into salt water that sprays your wheels and drive chain. Fitting mudguards to the front and rear wheels will reduce how much gets onto your drive chain and brake/gear cables.
Take both wheels off. Wipe down the rim where the brakes touch the wheel with a clean cloth. Look for signs of wear as a hollow dip in the wheel rim gives you less braking power. Check brake pads, most have grooves to indicate how worn they are. They’re made of rubber, so grit or glass can get easily get stuck. Do a visual check and remove any debris.
Check your tyres for slow punctures, glass and other track debris, but don’t use your fingers. Consider switching to heavier, wider tyres which are cheaper, will last longer and give you more traction and volume.
Always clean your chain before greasing. Use solvent with a toothbrush, and use Q-tips to remove stubborn clumps of grease and grime out of corners and holes. Drop lubricant onto each link of your chain, or run a line by spinning the chain as you pour the oil. Wipe away excess oil with a rag while spinning the chain.
Rain and snow mixed with grit from the trail works it’s way into your chain, removing lube and causing wear. Consider replacing the chain if it appears to stretch, or if you’ve noticed your gears are skipping.
It's also a good idea to keep your bike under cover and out of the elements. Use cooking spray on your pedals and cleats for easier clip-ins. Another tried and tested tip is to make friends with your local bike store. They have experience and knowledge, together with the gear you need to keep your bike in great condition.
Rags and a toothbrush
Q-tips for hard to reach areas
Solvent, water and soap
All weather lubricant
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